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Old 08-26-2020, 12:52 PM   #1
birchhaven
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Default Jones Act and Winni

Weird question. I have a hazy recollection of an old article about NH not allowing the coast guard to "take over" NH inland waterways. So if the coast guard doesn't have authority in Winnipesaukee does the Jones Act apply to Winnipesaukee? I am guessing yes.

https://www.nytimes.com/1976/04/18/a...ight-with.html

Last edited by birchhaven; 08-26-2020 at 12:54 PM. Reason: article found
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Old 08-26-2020, 04:34 PM   #2
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How would the Jones Act have any meaningful impact on maritime commerce on Lake Winnipesaukee, a body of water with no navigable connection to any other body of water?
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Old 08-26-2020, 05:05 PM   #3
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The Jones Act is a federal law that regulates maritime commerce in the United States. The Jones Act requires goods shipped between U.S. ports to be transported on ships that are built, owned, and operated by United States citizens or permanent residents.(from Investopedia.com) I don't see where that comes to Winnipesaukee, but crazier interpretations of law have occurred.
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Old 08-26-2020, 05:36 PM   #4
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Red face (Now Plastic)...

The article hits a NYT paywall. Would a subscriber kindly copy the text?

Perhaps the "win" was to inoculate the state against changing Lake Winnipesaukee's established and extensive wooden-spar system of navigation. (?)
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Old 08-26-2020, 05:51 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ApS View Post
The article hits a NYT paywall. Would a subscriber kindly copy the text?

Perhaps the "win" was to inoculate the state against changing Lake Winnipesaukee's established and extensive wooden-spar system of navigation. (?)
Comes up for me, and I sure don't subscribe. Can't believe this was over 40 years ago. It was a huge deal at the time and of course back then Mel Thompson took Live Free or Die pretty seriously

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CONCORD, N.H., April 16The United States is going to keep its hands off Lake Winnipesaukee, Lake Winnisquam and the Merrimack River.

In the face of a storm of protest from a rare united front of New Hampshire's elected officials, Democrats and Republicans, boat owners and conservationists, the Coast Guard has backed down from an attempt to take over the state's recreational lakes and major river.

The nautical saga began last September, when the Coast Guard informed Gov. Meidrim Thomson that it had determined that the pcipular lakes were “navigable waters” and thus the Coast Guard was required to take jurisdiction over them.

The conservative Republican Governor was irate when he read the Coast Guard letter and an accompanying 10‐page memorandum explaining how the takeover would be accomplished.


“A blatant usurpation of the sovereignty of our state,” the Governor declared in December in a letter to Secretary of Transportation William T. Coleman, whose department includes the Coast Guard.

Boat Safety Control

The Coast Guard historically exercises control over commercial waterways, but the crux of the situation here is the Federal Boat Safety Act of 1971. This act sets up Federal uniform standards for pleasure boat registration and such safety features as the number and design of life preservers that must be carried.


Under the law, boats with the proper Coast Guard registration number on their bow have access to all waters in the country under Coast Guard jurisdiction, and the states if they have a standard Model Boat Safety Act and provide enforcement, collect the registration fees and keep part of them.

New Hampshire and Washington are the only states that do not participate in the program.

Instead., New Hampshire has its own boat registration system, and out‐of‐state residents even if they have the Coast Guard registration numbers, must buy the $6.50 state license plate and have a local inspection before launching their craft in the Granite State waters.

Last year, New Hampshire took in more than $260,000 in registration fees from the owners of 45,425 boats, many of them summer visitors.


There were estimates that the state might lose from $70,000 to $120,000 from the Federal takeover. On the other hand, the Coast Guard contended that the state might gain as much as $100,000 by cooperating with the Federal Government program.

Protests by Opponents

The state Legislature passed a resolution condemning “the unwarranted usurpation of sovereign state's rights.”

Angry meetings were held by boat salesmen, owners and even conservationists who wanted to protect new state laws to help clean up the lakes.

In Washington, the state's two United States Representatives, James C. Cleveland, Republican, and Norman E. D'Amours, a Democrat, drafted legislation to remove New Hampshire waters from Coast Gurad jurisdiction. Mr. Cleveland said that the takeover would deprive his state of revenue from out‐of‐state boaters.

The two Democratic Senators, Thomas J, McIntyre and John Durkin, drew up a similar bill. Mr. Durkin said that it was the result of “never‐ending frustrations dealing with faceless, mindless bureaucrat operating in concrete and marble, palaces in Washington.”

The issue, which was apparently becoming somewhat of an embarrassment for the Ford Administration, reached a decisive point on March 29, when New Hampshire's Attorney Gen. eral, David H. Souter, met with Secretary Coleman and his aides in Washington.

The central legal definition of whether the waters are “navigable” for Federal purposes is whether they can be used in interstate or foreign commerce. Mr. Souter recalled in a telephone interview that he had disputed the Coast Guard's contention that they were thus navigable and contended that the Coast Guard had used a false standard of retroactivity When it cited a 1796 state charter for improvements that had never been made on the waterways to contend they had commercial possibilities.

Shortly after the meeting Secretary Coleman decided that the Coast Guard claims to jurisdiction would be withdrawn.
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Old 08-26-2020, 05:58 PM   #6
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How would the Jones Act have any meaningful impact on maritime commerce on Lake Winnipesaukee, a body of water with no navigable connection to any other body of water?
It actually reaches a little father than you might think. It has been amended a few times throughout the decades to involve more.

I actually came across this in my research and kind found it funny how it actually calls out NH as an exception:

4301. Application
(a) This chapter applies to a recreational vessel and associated equipment carried in the vessel on waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States (including the territorial sea of the United States as described in Presidential Proclamation No. 5928 of December 27, 1988) and, for a vessel owned in the United States, on the high seas.

(b) Except when expressly otherwise provided, this chapter does not apply to a foreign vessel temporarily operating on waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

(c) Until there is a final judicial decision that they are navigable waters of the United States, the following waters lying entirely in New Hampshire are declared not to be waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States within the meaning of this section: Lake Winnisquam, Lake Winnipesaukee, parts of the Merrimack River, and their tributary and connecting waters.

(Pub. L. 98–89, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 529; Pub. L. 105–383, title III, 301(b)(4), Nov. 13, 1998, 112 Stat. 3417.)
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Old 08-26-2020, 06:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by birchhaven View Post
It actually reaches a little father than you might think. It has been amended a few times throughout the decades to involve more.

I actually came across this in my research and kind found it funny how it actually calls out NH as an exception:

4301. Application
(a) This chapter applies to a recreational vessel and associated equipment carried in the vessel on waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States (including the territorial sea of the United States as described in Presidential Proclamation No. 5928 of December 27, 1988) and, for a vessel owned in the United States, on the high seas.

(b) Except when expressly otherwise provided, this chapter does not apply to a foreign vessel temporarily operating on waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

(c) Until there is a final judicial decision that they are navigable waters of the United States, the following waters lying entirely in New Hampshire are declared not to be waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States within the meaning of this section: Lake Winnisquam, Lake Winnipesaukee, parts of the Merrimack River, and their tributary and connecting waters.

(Pub. L. 9889, Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 529; Pub. L. 105383, title III, 301(b)(4), Nov. 13, 1998, 112 Stat. 3417.)
The Jones Act is best known for the reason articulated by Descant in his post above. This part of the statute relating to goods transported between U.S. ports dates to 1920, and as I mentioned would have little (if any) meaningful impact on Lake Winnipesaukee. The section you quote here is part of a chapter pertaining to recreational vessels, and appears to have been added to the statute no earlier than 1983, perhaps as a result of the work done by the New Hampshire federal congressional delegation and state executive branch in response to the meddling by the Coast Guard, as pointed out in the NYT article.
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Old 08-26-2020, 07:39 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by TMI Guy View Post
The Jones Act is best known for the reason articulated by Descant in his post above. This part of the statute relating to goods transported between U.S. ports dates to 1920, and as I mentioned would have little (if any) meaningful impact on Lake Winnipesaukee. The section you quote here is part of a chapter pertaining to recreational vessels, and appears to have been added to the statute no earlier than 1983, perhaps as a result of the work done by the New Hampshire federal congressional delegation and state executive branch in response to the meddling by the Coast Guard, as pointed out in the NYT article.
So what do you think? Does it apply to Winnipesaukee? I am genuinely curious.
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Old 08-26-2020, 09:03 PM   #9
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So what do you think? Does it apply to Winnipesaukee? I am genuinely curious.
About what specific section or sections of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 are you inquiring? The act covers a lot of different stuff. If you are asking about the inspection and regulation of recreational vessels on Lake Winnipesaukee falling under the jurisdiction of the United States (i.e., the Coast Guard), I would say no, it does not apply.
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Old 08-27-2020, 09:58 AM   #10
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Default Speculation

I

f NH had not "won" exemption from the Jones Act, would we now have:

A buoy system understood by boaters from other states, funded by USCG?
A safe passage law that others understand?
Overnight anchoring?
Overboard discharge of grey water?
A reasonable and prudent/Rule six speed law?
No requirement for under 13 to wear a PFD?
OK to ride on gunwales?
Etc
Etc
For "Live Free or Die" we have a huge number of laws and rules that really should be common sense.
Please don't start to discuss these--the point is to say that the Jones Act does some things for us that are good, and some not so good.
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Old 08-27-2020, 10:25 AM   #11
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A bit off topic, but as a “youth”, I spent my summers on Northeast Pond in Milton. Half of the lake is NH and the other half ME. It’s a very small lake, but since it borders 2 states, we did have periodic visits from the Coast Guard. I remember a few times being asked “permission to board” my 12’ – 9 HP boat by the CG We also had NH and ME marine patrol. Markers were a bit of a cluster, though mostly NH. Depending on where you were determined who would stop you unless it was CG and the could do it anywhere.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/No...!4d-70.9670683
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Old 08-27-2020, 10:41 AM   #12
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Is that the area commonly referred to as "Milton 3 Ponds" ?

If so, my daughter frequents there. Never realized it was split by ME / NH.
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Old 08-27-2020, 11:16 AM   #13
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Default USCG on the Lake

I remember there being quite a flap when Mitt Romney was running for President and the Coast Guard put small gunboats (yes, w/ 50cal guns) on the lake and stationed them in front of his property. Man, were they belligerent. If you went putt-putting by, even way further than 250' offshore, they'd rush out at you.

I appreciate the Coasties out there in the seas but would not want them on the Lake.
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Old 08-27-2020, 11:18 AM   #14
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Is that the area commonly referred to as "Milton 3 Ponds" ?

If so, my daughter frequents there. Never realized it was split by ME / NH.
Yup, there are 3 ponds, Northeast, Town and Milton connected by the Salmon Falls river. Spend a lot of time there from late 50s until mid-2000
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Old 08-27-2020, 08:34 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by birchhaven View Post
So if the coast guard doesn't have authority in Winnipesaukee does the Jones Act apply to Winnipesaukee?
Oversight of the Jones Act extends far beyond the USCG (CBP, TSA, ICE etc. all play rolls), so you cant disqualify the application based solely upon their lack of jurisdiction on the lake.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TMI Guy View Post
About what specific section or sections of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 are you inquiring? The act covers a lot of different stuff. If you are asking about the inspection and regulation of recreational vessels on Lake Winnipesaukee falling under the jurisdiction of the United States (i.e., the Coast Guard), I would say no, it does not apply.
I too am curious which sections you are inquiring about. Overall I would tend to agree with TIM Guy in that Winnipesaukee does not fall under jurisdiction of the Jones Act.
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Old 08-29-2020, 06:00 PM   #16
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Originally the post was specific to something I actually was able to answer myself. But after going down the rabbit hole came up with more questions. First I know we all have our reason why Winni is unique but I love learning new things like this that really do make Winnipesaukee unique, in this case literally legally unique in the USA.

This first one that pops into my head is if I "charter" a pontoon boat that has more the 12 people is the operator technically violating the Jones Act? I can't imagine anyone cares, but still. There is no way the consumer purchased toons are stamped by the coast guard.

I would assume just over the years the "mount" got a stamp at some point.
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Old 08-31-2020, 07:20 AM   #17
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USCG was on the lake, briefly, during the Reagan administration. For once, they had more funding than they really needed.

The Jones act was modified a few years ago to redefine "Navigable waters" and other details. USCG now only has authority over waters that can be navigated in both directions to international bodies of water, and interstate bodies of water. That leaves most of our rivers and lakes to local and state supervision.

Several of our rivers are technically included in federal jurisdiction because they form part of our borders or reach the sea.

The law does not prohibit USCG or other Federal Agencies from any public waterway. This is the same as any individual or group driving on a highway or walking in a park. The state does have letters if reciprocity with the USCG allowing mutual authority to act in various matters and areas. To the best of my knowledge, no such agreement applies to our lakes - just the seacoast.

That's all I think I know about that.
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